Giving domain user access to a local profile: Easiest way to migrate

This has been a burden for a long time.  I have no issue  building a new PC and setting it up for Joe New User.  Migrating his data on the other hand is much more of a chore: where does he save his local copies (they always seem to save them off the network don’t they), what file types do they use, is there a personal collection of music (sorry but it is not work related – don’t care what your manager says 🙂 ).  So my colleague (Shaun Rioux – full credit is due to him for finding the source post) and I found a new way to do this and it is soooo easy.  Here is the background:

We are building a new server for one of our clients. They are a new company and have been using workgroup joined machines for the past few years. So, how do we get the local user profile data over to the domain user profile?  Copy to USB – slow and error prone.  Copy over the network – even slower. FAST (File and Setting Transfer Wizard) or WET (Windows Easy Transfer) – still takes a long time.  Side note: If you are migrating to new machines and do so often: buy some Easy Transfer cables – they are quite inexpensive and are the greatest thing in my option. Also note: the reason this is so fast is that you do not actually move the data – just the permissions to access it

So, here is what we did:

1) Join the local machine to the domain using domain admin (or equivalent) credentials
2) Either logon as the domain user or do a “run as” with the user account. Basically: let windows create a domain user profile folder.
3) Navigate to the user profiles (C:\user\”username”) and right click
4) Go to the Security tab in the properties and select advanced
This step is important as if you do it from the normal security tab you will get all.           kinds of errors.  Also very important to make sure you tell Windows to replace.  permissions on child objects.
5) Here you give the domain user access to the local user profile (“Full Control”)
6) Click Ok and close out the file explorer window
7) Now we will open the registry
8) Navigate to HKCU, right click, select permissions and give the domain user access (“Full Control”)
9) Last step: browse through the Registry: HKLM – Software – Microsoft – Windows NT – Current Version –  Profile list.
10) Here you will see all the user profiles listed.  Each one has a key called “ProfileImagePath”: look through the list until you locate the one with the local username.  Copy the value.  Look through the list until you locate the domain username.  Paste the copied value here.
11) Save and exit
12) Reboot
13) As my good friend Shaun Kearney says: go home at 5pm for once:  your wife will still be missing you and will be amazed you are home so early for once

Keep your stick on the ice